Damned voice of death, blessed Voice of life

repentI preached the following sermon today at my congregation’s Memorial Service for Victims of Abortion (the service provided by Lutherans for Life).

In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

55 million dead in one country in forty years.  Over a million dead babies every year.  While the country brings out everything they can for children who die after they are born, many in this country do not care about those who lose their fight for life while in the womb.  Death has become the voice of our country.  Death has all too often become our voice as well.

You see I could stand up here and preach against the evil that is abortion, but you know that.  You shall not murder the Law says.  Do not hurt nor harm your neighbor.  Killing the most defenseless is one of the most wicked things a person can do.  But then the second part of that commandment comes to play – help and support the neighbor in every physical need.

You see, we could talk about abortion more, we could talk about ongoing debates on contraceptives, we could talk about the costs of children, but in these we miss the root of this problem.  The problem is within us – we do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

How do you view children?  Are they a blessing as the Word of God says, gladly and joyously to be brought into this earth as the gifts that they are in any circumstance?  Are they worth every burden and struggle, whether physical, mental, emotional, and even financial?  Are children any less a blessing if they are conceived through horrible crimes?  Do you see how our views on these subtle points change the way we look at children, and thus the way we look at the God who gives them.  The Word defines truth, and our views should be under the Word’s authority, else we become our own gods with the sacred text of our warped opinions.

Satan was the first voice of death.  Instead of Life, Satan coaxed Adam and Eve into death.  He did so by tempting the creatures to think that they could be the creator.  He got them to think and believe that God did not have their best interest at stake, that God was somehow giving them a curse rather than a blessing – really in the end that God was an evil God.  That brings death.  Every time we embrace a view of children not like that of the Scriptures, every time we veer away from the Scriptures we embrace death.  But that comes naturally to fallen human beings.

Satan said that we could be like gods.  Death always lies and makes promises it cannot keep.  Hey creature, act like creator, despise the gift of God and determine for yourself what you can handle.  Don’t trust the one who has an eternal perspective, don’t trust His words, instead trust your emotional and perverse way of thinking, or at least take the word of the world around you.  Death lies.  Death cheats.  Death curses.

Life tells the truth.  God tells the truth. He says that children are a blessing.  He never gives a qualification to that.  He says that He will provide everything we need to support this body and life – and that goes for those children given to us also.  He promises to be with us in all struggle but never promises that life will not have struggles.

What do we do with these things – we like Pharaoh and Herod disregard these things.  Children become our enemies, burdens to our enjoyment and threats to our security.  Our finances become occasion to worry instead of thank.  We curse God and wonder where He is when we think life has become too hard.  This is the real root behind abortion.

Maybe right now you are thinking that you have not done these things.  You have not gone through anything as horrific as abortion, haven’t run children down, and done what is right in life.  But your thoughts betray you – for in seeking your goodness in what you haven’t done or have done your sinful nature is pulling the old self-justification card.  It is a deadly card, dealt to you by death and is the biggest lie ever told to anyone.

Repent.  Repent for whatever guilt you have in this mess of the fallen world whether for children murdered, support not offered, blessings viewed as cursings, creatures claiming to be Creator, or even thinking that you are good on this.  Repent.  Confess it.  It is sin, it is always sin.

You see, while Pharaoh and Herod did their worst, and while we do or don’t do our worst – God has been at work for you.  He saved Moses from Pharaoh’s hatred and Moses would become a member of the house of Pharaoh and one day witness the greatness of God to Pharaoh.  God would deliver His people through the work of that saved infant.  And of course Herod’s soldiers raided and bloodied Bethlehem but could not touch Jesus, because He had been whisked away into Egypt.  The irony, in one accord of human evil working to deliver people out of Egypt, in another finding safety in Egypt.  God is at work, and His ways do not always make sense to us.

In the same way God has seen fit to rescue you from evil men and even yourselves.  He has shown you your Sin, the deep darkness sitting underneath that veneer of doing good.  Your hearts are not good.  Life is not a part of the idolatries you keep.  Death has sold you a lie.  But God knows that.  He sent Jesus to deliver you out of the bondage of your idolatries to be ushered into a promised land filled with people forgiven by His work.  Jesus takes on your idolatries and will not leave you stuck in the lie.  He has redeemed you from that wicked master of death.  Not only that He comforts you for all that you have or haven’t done while listening to the lies of death.  As such you are free and forgiven.  You are free from the guilt and condemnation of sins past.  You are free to look at every child as a great blessing.  You are free to cherish human life.  You are free to repeat the words of Life that God has enlivened you with.  You are free to work as an agent of change in this nation bent on killing its own.

God has granted you a great thing this day – being alive to remember and be a part of memorial.  This is the life that He gives to you – a life that is filled with repentance and faith in Jesus.  It is a life of leaving the lies of death behind, of taking all of the reasonable things the world may say to you and leaving them behind.  A life of clinging to the Truth, clinging to Jesus, trusting His Word.  His voice of the Gospel, it is the voice of life, and it drowns out the voice of death.  And today in your hearing, He gives you life once again – a life renewed and made right by what He has done for you.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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